BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox broke a 106 year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.
Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.
The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.
The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60½ games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It’s the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.
Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts’ two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.
Betts also singled and scored in Boston’s two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.
Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.
Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.
Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.
Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. “I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don’t know when,” Showalter said.
Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night’s game. … INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.
LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.